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Gertrude Abercrombie

An influential artist based in Chicago, Gertrude Abercrombie was largely self taught. She established her mature style, a haunting synthesis of American folk-art, surrealism, and sixteenth-century Flemish painting, by 1940. This enigmatic little painting includes many aspects of Abercrombie’s best narrative work of the 1940s and 1950s. Abercrombie has included herself in a spooky nocturnal landscape that was likely composed from a synthesis of memory and the imagination. She loved to invent mysterious and magical settings in which a few symbolically-charged objects or details interact in a provocative way. In a statement written for a 1945 exhibition catalogue, Abercrombie described this process. “I am not interested in complicated things nor in the commonplace,” she wrote. “I like and like to paint simple things that are a little strange. My work comes directly from my inner consciousness and it must come easily. It is a process of selection and reduction.”
Date of Birth
Oil on masonite
8 x 10 in. (20.32 x 25.4 cm.)
Accession #
Credit Line
Art by Women Collection, Gift of Linda Lee Alter